Winter At The Loading Bench


vbr-rifle.gifFrom November until April the range facilities in West Yellowstone are inaccessible. The road south of town is closed to wheeled vehicles so that snowmobiles can use it. This means, for me, that shooting takes place in Bozeman, [indoor .22 rimfire,] Roundup, [informal field range,] or Cody, Wyoming, [7 hour winter drive.] So I shoot the old Winchester Model 52-c and spend a lot of time at the loading bench and preparing cases. This is a very small blessing.

I’ll be shooting in HBR next season. This will be my first experience with the class in any serious way. And, although the 30 BR is beginning to challenge the 308’s in this class, there is still too little data to convince me to have one built – at this time. There is, on the other hand, a wealth of data on the 308 Winchester, (and all of it’s wildcat variations.) By March I’ll have a primary rifle and a back-up rifle. I currently have a winning HBR – “HUNTER #1” & have ordered “HUNTER #2.”

hunter-1.JPGHUNTER #1 is a very old Remington 700 action that has been well massaged and trued. It has a Hart barrel, Jewell trigger, Burris 6x scope, and early HBR stock from McMillan. It is a tight neck version. The standard load is 41 grains of Vihtavuori N 135 under 135 grain Watson moly coated bullets. Lapua brass is used with Remington Large Rifle primers. The rifle shoots clean all through the course and, although it’s 6 years old, it has less than 300 rounds through it.

Hunter #2 is in pieces right now. A new Remington 700 action, Krieger barrel, Jewell trigger, I.O.R. 30mm scope and another McMIllan stock. I’ll have a standard HBR stock if the “Edge HBR” is not in stock. This one will be designed for 155 grain bullets and Lapua brass.

221boxa-337-x-172.jpgI’ve started the pages on Hunter Class Benchrest shooting, and included some data on the 308 Winchester and its stepfather the 30-06 Springfield. The pages are indexed on the Introduction Page for Target Shooting. I also put them in the updates section way down at the bottom of the left sidebar. I figured out how to make the links work in the widgets that WordPress uses so it’s a bit more convenient.

big-bench.JPGThe loading bench will receive an upgrade and a new tool box for the 30 caliber tools. The old box, (as big as it is,) is full of the varmint class paraphernalia for 6mm and 22 calibers.

I prefer more prepared cases than most benchrest shooters. Generally no less than 50 cases for each gun is the minimum. I prefer 100. So with the Hunter Guns, I’ll have to spiff-up 200 Lapua cases. Plus clean and shine the Varmint Class cases. Of course there also is the loading for informal shooting – [221 Fireball, 222 Remington, 22-250 Winchester, 6×284, 30-06, 223, etc.]

close-bench.JPGWith all of the loading, a few fishing trips, and the constant press of research I am blessed, sort-of, by the long winter. I had thought I might be able to fit in some pelt hunting but it looks like the winter isn’t that long. Maybe along with daylight saving time we should consider adding a 36-hour day to the calendar.

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